2008 May Be Tough Year for Trucks

By Brendan Moore


As we reported recently, there is considerable belief that 2008 could be the worst year for new vehicle sales since 1993. And it appears that sales of pickup trucks took the brunt of the softening market in 2007, and may look much worse in 2008.

Recent articles like today’s piece in the New York Times detail just how much pickups took it on the chin in 2007. Even with the market excitement among consumers guaranteed by the new Ford F-150 (it’s a great piece of work; I’ve seen it) being scheduled for introduction at the Detroit Auto Show in a couple of weeks, and the new Dodge Ram scheduled for a February unveiling in Chicago, 2008 is just not looking good for pickups.

The Ford F-150 pickup truck has been the best-selling vehicle in the United States for decades. Not merely the best-selling truck (31 years in a row), but the best-selling vehicle among both cars and trucks for 26 straight years. In that regard, it is an excellent barometer of the new vehicle market in the United States. It is no exaggeration to say that if sales of the F-150 catch cold, the overall market will probably get pneumonia.

Hopefully neither of those things will happen, but the signs are not looking good.

COPYRIGHT Autosavant.net – All Rights Reserved

Author: Brendan Moore

Brendan Moore is a Principal Consultant with Cedar Point Consulting , a management consulting practice based in the Washington, DC area. He also manages Autosavant Consulting, a separate practice within Cedar Point Consulting. where he advises businesses connected to the auto industry. Cedar Point Consulting can be found at http://www.cedarpointconsulting.com.

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  1. There have been WAAAAY too many trucks sold in the past 15 years to these mouth-breathers that use them as cars. They don’t carry anything in them, they don’t tow anything in them, they just drive to their office job or their job at Wal-Mart in them. Maybe the price of gasline will keep these people out of trucks and push them back into cars where they belong.

  2. An Autoblog article from mid-December mentionned then Ghosn wanted to drop the Nissan Titan after 2010 unless the next-gen Titan will be a Dodge Ram-based Titan. If this scenario came to reality, could we imagine some similar scenarios coming from nowhere like Toyota dropping their Sequioa and Tundra to sale rebadged GM trucks? I know it’s very doubtful that could happen, comparing to that, the Toronto Maple Leafs have more bigger chances to win the Stanley Cup but who knows? 😉

  3. I’m 45 years old so I remember as a kid when the only people that had pickup trucks were people that actually used the truck for something it was designed for, like hauling, etc.

    The only people that drove trucks were farmers, tradesmen, ranchers (my family), delivery men, etc. And even those guys also had a car if they could afford it, because you just wouldn’t take your family to church or your wife to dinner in a pickup truck (or a Chevrolet Suburban or Ford Bronco) unless that was the only vehicle you owned and you had to use that one to go somewhere nice.

    If you didn’t need a truck, you drove a car, period.

    I don’t consider myself dense, but I have never been able to figure out what a guy who works as an accounts payable manager or a tax attorney (my next-door neighbor) sees as the appeal of driving a pickup truck to work every day.

    Does it make them feel more like rugged men? Because, I gotta tell you, that’s not fooling anyone but themselves. My neighbor, who drives a new Toyota Tundra, is a pasty-white, overweight slug with the muscle tone of a jellyfish. He’s never had anything in the back of this truck, and he never had anything in the back of the truck he had before that.

    Maybe here in TX people buy them to fit in, because there are more trucks on the road than cars, but that seems like a pretty weak reason, too.

    I’ve just never been able to figure out just what the heck the appeal is because trucks use more gas, are harder to park, don’t handle as well as cars, are not as comfortable as car, can’t carry as many people, etc.

    Could someone fill me in on the attraction people have for trucks?

  4. One large appeal is that trucks are higher off of the ground, so visibility is better.

    My wife drives an Expedition, which is just barely large enough for the 3 kids and all of their crap. However, if she is just running to the store she won’t take my car, because it is “not high enough”.
    This is why the fastest growing segment is crossovers, they have a high ride height.

    Also I was told by one of the local dealers that most buyers of the extended cab trucks with the 1/2 size “suicide” type doors are women. Apparently there is a great appeal to the fact that the rear doors can not be opened until the front doors are open. ???

    Because of the long wheel base, Trucks handle better on the open road, and because they are invariably rear wheel drive, they drive better, especially for those who hate FWD cars.

    IMHO, the automakers are missing the boat by not building a RWD unibody crossover. That would combine high ride height, RWD handling, and lighter weight unibody construction for better mpg.

  5. There is NO WAY that trucks “handle better on the open road” or any other road for that matter, because of their long wheelbase. C’mon!

    It’s conceivable that trucks might have a softer ride than a car because of the longer wheelbase, but there is no way that the average truck steers better, brakes better, etc. than the average car. And saying that the average RWD truck drives better than than the average FWD car because it’s RWD is also ludicrous. Two cars, equal in every regard except for the fact that one is FWD and one is RWD, sure, the RWD car will be superior, but the average full-size truck starts with so many liabilities in terms of handling, there’s no way it handles better than the average FWD car.

    Both of your statements beggar belief. Whether they are your rationalizations or not, they are nonetheless rationalizations for owning a big ‘ol truck and using it as a car. And I don’t need to poiint out that they are very poor rationalizations as well.

    My bother has a new Chevy Silverado which he bought because he “goes to Lowes all the time to pick something up and needs the bed” which happened ONE TIME last year when he bought a dozen plants in pots to put along his front walk. Lowes would have delivered the plants to his driveway for $35.

    Another rationalization that doesn’t hold any more water than your average sieve.

  6. Actually, I drive a Mustang.

    But on the wide open freeway (I-10, I-5, I-8 etc) the truck drives better. It’s heavier, so it’s more stable, longer wheel base, more stable. Tows better, not that anyone would seriously town anything with a Mustang anyway.
    Curvy mountain road, naturally the car is better.

    The truck is also higher clearence which makes a difference on AZ dirt roads. My wife killed two oil pans when she drove a car.

    The number one reason people buy Trucks as daily drivers is the ride height. That does not change the fact that FWD cars handle awefull.

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